I have been looking into mystery shopping for a while and have some questions. I work a full time job and would be using mystery shopping to supplement my income. I only have a few hours per week to spare. I noticed that a lot of the shops seem to be lower in pay ($3-$12) with perhaps a reimbursement. My question is what are the easiest shops to start with and how can I maximize the amount made so I don’t feel like I am spending more time and gas than I need to? Also, how long did it take (approximately) to become an established shopper after building a reliable reputation? Thank you.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/2019 03:32PM by joyce79.
Your question is right up my ally. I work full time as well (outside of shopping) and can pull in over $2,000 in any month I choose - though I do work hard and put in a fair number of hours shopping to do that.
* If you have not done so, check out the "New Shopper" area on this forum. It has a ton of useful information.
* The easiest shops for starting are those that are like what you do as a part of your normal life. You buy gas? Unrevealed gas shops would be easy. You likely buy groceries. These are easy if you are willing to feel a little silly asking questions. Post offices? Cell phone inquiries, etc. Once you have done a couple of shops and "get" the whole mystery shopping thing, most shops are easy. It's a matter of reading the guidelines, following directions, and making deadlines. Overall, everybody on this board will have different opinions about the "easiest" and "best" shops.
* Once you have done very well on a couple of shops for a scheduler/company, you will be trusted. If you flake on a shop or have one rejected (as a newbie), it can take a while to rebuild your reputation.
* Invest time signing up for lots of companies. If you really want to know what is available near you, sign up for over 100. You'll eventually want to be with all MSC's. If you don't know what all the opportunities are, how will you ever know that you have the "best" ones?
* Create routes of shops. If you can pick up two or three shops that share a single parking lot, it's a score - even if the pay is a little low. The time you save driving to new locations, re-parking, etc. can make it worth your while. Likewise, if you can pick up shops near the streets you are already traveling, you can efficiently pick up several shops in a short amount of time. Of course, this is easiest to do when you are with more companies.
* Expand your territory. Periodically there will be a gem of a shop 100 miles away (think a $6 shop with a $100 bonus). If you see such a shop and the bonus isn't high enough, email the scheduler and make an offer. If large bonuses are being offered, the MSC needs to unload it and they might be willing to give it to for some good money. Or, more likely, is that shop to build a route, making several stops on your way to and/or from that location.
* Figure out what you do well and create a niche. I do many, many apartment visits. Others love revealed gas station audits. I am a very good typist and don't mind writing narratives. Some folks do better with quicker reports that can be done on a cell phone. I prefer higher-paying shops that have me on site longer. Others prefer quicker shops with lower pay, but handle more volume. We are all different in this respect. You'll have to figure out where you fit in.
* You have limited time. Look for shops that reimburse you for money that you already spend. Oil changes can be a great deal. Grocery stores can be good. Do you ever eat out? Etc.
* Look for funny holes in your day. As an example, when I drove my kids to activities that were too far from home to allow me to go home, I found myself with dead time. Usually that meant going out for a $5 latte. However, when I started to shop, I changed, I would pick up a shop or two near the activity to fill the time. I'd be at +$30 instead of -$5. Can you pick up a shop to and/or from work? I'll often make a stop an an apartment community on my way home from work. Some folks shop during their lunch hours.
* Always, always do excellent work. Never flake on assignments. Treat all schedulers and MSC representatives with the utmost respect - no matter how you feel about them. You want to me on the "Call that shopper" list when they are desperate to fill assignments. The most lucrative work tends to come over the phone. When you do get said calls, and the offer is not to your liking, feel free to counter-offer. This is a free market. Only work for what you think you are worth.
* As you get comfortable with the world of mystery shopping,. Consider video. It's a bit pricey to get started, but the assignments are often half the work for twice the pay.
* There is a ton of information on this forum. I credit the folks who have been shopping longer than me who openly shared their knowledge for about 80% of the income I earn through shopping. It is well worth your time to keep up with what's posted here - even on threads that don't interest you, as subjects on threads can change and information is shared. Post questions when you have them.
Welcome and Good Luck!
Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/2019 04:37PM by MFJohnston.
If you got a check BEFORE you completed an assignment is is almost certainly a SCAM. DO NOT deposit that check. YOU will be legally responsible when you bank finds out in about 2-3 weeks that it is fraudulent!
How much was the check for? The average fee for a new mystery shopper is maybe $5 to $15.
Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel
Are you saying that you got a check at the same time that you were given your instructions? (Your post is unclear.)
If that is the case, there is a 99.9% likelihood that you are being scammed. Mystery shopping companies generally ask that you perform a task and only pay/reimburse you once you have successfully reported and completed the task - which is typically weeks later. There are currently numerous scammers who pose as mystery shopping companies that attempt to rip off unsuspecting shoppers.
I got a check so is it good it was with my assignment
Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.